We left after dinner and I drove him to the airport. As we passed Sepulveda and Sunset boulevards, there was a huge lot of Christmas trees for sale. And in the middle of the lot, I saw a tiny pink tree.
“Jim!” I couldn’t help exclaiming. “Look! Look at the baby tree. The little pink tree in the middle of the lot. Look. Isn’t it sweet?” I just loved it.
“Yes, I see it. And you must have it. Stop the car. I must get it for you.”
“Oh, no, Jim. Don’t be silly. I just think it’s pretty, that’s all. And besides, you’ll miss your plane.”
“Yes. I was thinking of that. Wouldn’t it be terrible if I did?”
“Oh, yes, it would be terrible.”
I didn’t stop. We continued on to the airport. When we got close to where we would be stopping, he said, “Darling, do me a favor. I won’t be able to take this good-bye. I want to get out here and I want you to drive back to your house right away. Don’t look back. Don’t wait for my plane to disappear into the sky. Don’t think about this. Don’t think about anything. I’ll telephone you tomorrow night and I’ll write you every day.”
We kissed good-bye in the car, our tears mingling. Then he very quickly got out of the car and disappeared.
I started to drive home. It was raining. And between the rain and my own tears, I had to pull over the side of the road for a minute or two before I could go on.
When I got home, I paid the baby-sitter and gave her a Christmas present. I checked the children one more time and put of the lights out. I found a note on my pillow.
It said, “I love you.” No name. It didn’t need the name.
How will these days and nights be without him, I asked myself. How will I live through them?
And I began to really sob. The doorbell rang.
My God, I thought, who could that be?
“Who is it?” I said as I went near the door.
And that most beautiful of all voices said, “Guess.”
I knew immediately. I opened the door, and Jim was standing there with the tiny pink Christmas tree.
I couldn’t get over it. It will always be one of the happiest moments of my life.
He stayed through Christmas, through New Year’s, through Valentine’s Day. But then he really had to go, and he did.
Jim died in late spring.